Nanowrimo Highs and Lows

Each year thousands of authors round the world get together and aim to write 50, 000 words in November. And it’s all run through a group called NaNoWriMo. There are subgroups in most cities allowing for meet-ups, group writing sessions and shared commiserations. I certainly appreciate the work done by my local regional organisers, even though I couldn’t make all events.

My aim this year was to continue and hopefully finish the novel I started writing at the beginning of August. I did achieve the word count (First success out of three attempts), adding 50, 145 words to the work, bringing it to just over 120, 000. That’s a big chunk of progress to achieve in one month, and even though I suspect I am 30, 000 words short of the end of the first draft, that end is now within sight.

To finish, I had to write each and every day, meaning on those days when I was also teaching and every weekend day as well. At the start, it was a great feeling to have that boost, to get an extra 3, 000 words per week, but towards the end, I became exhausted and my eating habits deteriorated rapidly. I’m pretty sure I’ve gained a few kg in the month and that will take some hard work to remove as we head into the Christmas period.

When it comes to plot challenges, the month was a mixed experience. Being forced to sort issues quickly meant that I did power through some hard moments that might have had me stuck and unproductive at other times. However, that exhaustion was a real issue and it was becoming harder to care for the details. I’m sure a lot of editing will be involved.

I am glad I took the challenge. I am pleased that I succeeded. I am very much unsure as to whether I will do it again next year. Would I recommend it to others? If you struggle to find the tie to put down words, then 100% go for it. If you can write fast, but like self-competitive aspects, go for it. If you stress eat, I’d be careful.

- R Max Tillsley

Robert TillsleyComment